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Browsing by Subject "välittäjät"

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  • Seppälä, Antti (2018)
    This master’s thesis addresses the role of intermediary organizations in sustainability transitions, specifically in the field of energy. The thesis discusses how intermediary organizations can diffuse and support the development of novel sustainable socio-technical niche-innovations through experiments. Theoretically, this thesis draws mostly upon the sustainability transition literature, particularly strategic niche management theory. Empirically, this thesis focuses on a case study of joint procurement of solar power plants that was implemented as a part of “New and innovative low-carbon business generates competitive advantage for companies and municipalities” (Välke) project in South-western Päijänne during 2016. Välke is a sub-project of Carbon-neutral municipalities (HINKU) and therefore the case study of this thesis links to other similar experiments in the HINKU network. The material of the thesis was collected through 9 semi-structured interviews with different stakeholders involved in the experiment and by using pre-existing secondary material. The material was analysed by qualitative content analysis using an analytical framework adopted from a previous study. The findings show that intermediaries support niche development by aggregating, circulating and applying lessons learned between and within joint procurement experiments. This was done by producing and disseminating documents, but more importantly through personal contact between intermediaries. The network of intermediaries showed hierarchical features as the coordinator of HINKU, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), maintained the repositories of the learned lessons and also formed a link between municipal intermediaries involved with the experiments. Also, during the experiments the more experienced higher profile intermediaries – mostly SYKE – provided assistance to lower profile municipal intermediaries. This support included providing knowledge, but also raising the confidence of lower profile intermediaries. Following, the lower profile intermediaries provided similar assistance to the participants of the experiments. However, the intermediary roles were not stable as lower level intermediaries were adopting some of the roles of the higher profile intermediaries after gaining experience during the experimentation. In order to support the Finnish solar niche, the intermediaries went beyond mere aggregating, circulating and applying lessons between and within experiments. They were actively initiating new experiments in adjusted formsin new geographical locations and advocating the niche. This was partially linked to the strategic nature of the intermediaries, as they were established to catalyse activities that would lead to mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. However, this active support for a particular socio-technical innovation contradicted the pursuit of intermediaries to be viewed as neutral and credible actors. Partially as a consequence – but also because of the phase of solar niche development in Finland and lack of resource and interest – SYKE chose to withdraw from future joint procurements of solar power plants for private actors. However, SYKE was planning to utilize the governance innovation of joint procurements in order to support other niche-innovations with sustainability gains. The findings show that intermediaries can accelerate energy transitions, at least on a regional scale. They emphasize the importance of cooperation and personal contact between intermediaries and the ability of intermediaries to utilize governance innovations. Also, the findings support stronger inclusion of intermediaries in governance frameworks to hasten energy transition and achieve wider sustainability goals. However, the thesis shows that particularly public intermediary organizations have to work under unclear mandates.